Imagine that you are traveling along the mountain roads of
Kyrgyzstan. The primordial and wild beauty surrounds you. White sugared peaks
appear at every wind of the road; underneath, a frothy river flow, imitating the
curves of the road, among green meadows. You can see herds of horses, flocks of
sheep and the shepherds' yurts on the emerald carpet of the alpine pastures.
You may enter any of these yurts. You will be welcomed even without anyone asking who you are and for what you have come. "Come in and take the honorary seat", will be first words you will hear from your hosts. Every guest is met in a similar manner.
Once upon a time, food was served on golden and silver trays to the guests of the Kyrgyz khans. Delicate cutlets of lam and foals, kazy-karta, astringent kumys, chagyrmak, or vodka made of kumys, and other delicacies beautified the table of the nomadic nobility. Much water has done under the bridge since then; khans have fallen into oblivion and Kyrgyz people and their way of life have changed. However, ancient hospitality laws remain unchanged and the Kyrgyz people regale their guests according to the same popular traditions.
Dastarkon, or a white tablecloth, is put on a low round table. Festivities begin with tea. Flat bread, bo'orsok, kattama and other types of bread as well as butter, kaimak, fresh and dried fruits and candy are on the table.
The tea is followed by kumys accompanied by various snacks, of which the most remarkable is koochook, or a sausage made of specially cooked horse fat. Dishes of boiled, fried and baked meat are arranged on the table.
Then the traditional beshbarmak is served. Beshbarmak is, so to say, a combination of dishes. First the guests try jash shorpo, or a strong broth spiced with mountain onion, then kuiruk-bo'or, or liver and sliced tail fat spiced with special sauce, and kabyrga, or ribs strongly coated with meat and fat.
After this each of the guests is given an ustukan — each of the ustukans has its own meaning and distributed depending on the guest's age, degree of honor and so on. Finally, the beshbarmak itself is served on a big dish: chipped meat mixed with pasta and spiced with onion sauce. Entertainment also ends with tea or other drinks or beverages.
Sabina M. (15 Jahre - Kirgistan)